By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

Scarborough Renaissance Festival (also known as Scarborough Faire) has been a 35-acre (on a 165-acre site) entertainment attraction in the Waxahachie area for over 40 years. Since its debut in 1981, the medieval-themed festival has delighted long-time fans and newcomers alike.

It’s been over 20 years since I last attended the event, often in the company of my parents or friends. When I moved back to Texas in 2019, I planned to revisit the event, but between a busy schedule and the pandemic canceling out the 2020 year, the event, for me at least, was put on hold.

This year gave me the opportunity to revisit the attraction again, and to my personal delight, it still holds a sense of wonder with its 16th century depiction of life under the reign of King Henry VIII. The festival is full of shops, games, jousting events, colorful characters, and of course, food. The food here is the real deal.

Turkey legs remain the festival’s favorite, with 20 tons of the signature item eaten each year. That’s nothing to say of steak on a stakes, scotch eggs, shepherd’s pies, and lots of food on a stick from chicken to mushrooms, to sausage. I found it’s best not to question the pubs and taverns (or all the foods on sticks), and just enjoy the meals. There are also Italian Ices: Orange or strawberry treats that used to be served on top of an orange half, but curiously served in Styrofoam cups this year. Bring back the oranges!

Much of the draw is the live entertainment on display from the aforementioned jousting, to falconry, to live entertainers. I was pleased to see “Don Juan and Miguel,” who have been part of the festival for 35 years, still performing, and still just as sharp with their whip cracks and swords as they are their wits. To be honest, seeing them on stage again was an nostalgically sentimental moment, and I told them what a pleasant surprise it was nice to see them again after all this time. The performers were gracious and appreciative, and Miguel briefly broke character to give me a heartfelt “Thank you.”

Overall, it was nice to see very little has changed throughout Scarborough Renaissance Festival. It’s easy to forget oneself into thinking you’ve entered a full and thriving village from another time. There’s a lot of artisan crafts to admire in the shops, and the cast and volunteers of the festival keep the venue lively. Scarborough still remains the “gold standard” of Renaissance festivals.

The show opens during the first week of April and runs through Memorial Day weekend. It’s advisable to bring sunscreen as summer is most definitely here.

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